It’s not often I get to say that Richmond gets cool chiptune concerts coming through here. We did have Anamanaguchi a while back, but for the most part if you like chiptunes in Richmond you’ve got to go to MAGFest, or go to one of the other crazy shows on the East Coast. But here in Ol’ Virginny? Not much goes on, which is what makes the spontaneous shows like this awesome.
In fact, everything about that show was fantastic – it took place at Gallery 5, which as with much of Richmond, has been repurposed from some random brick building into a gallery/venue. What’s cool is that it’s actually Richmond’s oldest firehouse, as well as oldest police station/jail, so the stage (and bar) are set up where the fire trucks used to go, and the rest of the building is set up as a museum. It’s a pretty neat place (the first time I went there, there was a Tom Petty cover band playing, and I lent the lead singer my top hat for a few songs), and since the dudes who run the joint are totally cool, we might expect more things to come here! What was even cooler is that because the downstairs at Gallery 5 is fairly open, the other room that the stage and bar weren’t set up in was packed with oldschool games – provided by the wonderful Bob Broomfield, owner of the Carytown Play ‘N Trade and general all-around radical dude. A_Rival stomped me in Street Fighter 2 on the SNES no fewer than three times in a row – dude plays a mean Ken.
I want to preface this next part by giving thanks to the unofficial official photographer, Stephen Roberts – he was kind enough to share his album with us, and he got some fun action shots. If you want more than the few pictures I slap in here, you can check his album on Facebook.
So officially on the list, there was A_Rival, Inverse Phase, and Cuttlefish, with Datacats on visuals (Datacats does visuals now, protip). There was also the return of Mike Peloquin, AKA Open Mike AKA Not-That-Open Mike AKA Pelololoquin as the opening act, doing some Franz Ferdinand and Queen covers, which was totally fun. Also, Datacats went up and did double duty, both by setting up the visuals as well as playing an open mic set (because he’s multitalented and he can do that).
As to the main show, it started with Cuttlefish, who you may remember from my 8-Bit Invasion writeup as that guy who, living up to his stagename, was ludicrously hard to locate, let alone turn up any information on. As it happens, though, he was hiding in Richmond the whole time! And just like last time, his set was brain melting. He also had a friend of his come up and do a duet with him, which was super great. (I think he might have also been responsible for like a fifth of the crowd, and it was NOT a small crowd, so we can say he totally brought the ruckus.)
After that, Inverse Phase got up and started off his set with a Name That Tune game, giving away such swag as t-shirts and CDs. He went on to do a considerably long set, going through much of Pretty Eight Machine and some of his other fun covers. He then had A_Rival show up and spit some lyrics on top of one of his tracks, and the set was over. The crowd took some time to buy some merch, buy some beer, and generally prepare their bodies for the wave of music that was to come.
I’d like to take a second and talk about everyone’s setups thus far. Mike and Inverse Phase had laptops running trackers, Cuttlefish and Datacats had Game Boys running LSDJ (not including Cats’ laptop running visuals from the AV booth). But A_Rival was totally fancy, rocking his Mac with two iPads feeding in to adjust volume and various other effects for his tracks. I snuck a peak when he was testing stuff before the show, and it’s pretty fantastic. I’m a big fan of being space-age and future-y with tablets, so this completely rocked my socks.
As to his set, A_Rival played through the entirety of his new album, Truthcannon. Now, I’m fairly, uh, unknowledgable when it comes to the EDM/dubstep/etc scene, believe it or not, so I was moderately unprepared for what happened next – all I can say is that it was an explosion of electronica in the best possible way. After he wrapped up the new album, he then went on to play one of the hypest tracks I’ve ever heard live.
This show was too good. Mad props to all involved. If you missed it, I feel for you – but hopefully, you’ll have more chances to see them all live soon! Hit up those Facebook links above to keep track of where they’re gonna be, and hit up the music links below if you want to get a taste of what you could have heard if you’d been there! (Or what you did hear if you were there, like a cool kid!)